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Washoe County primary election results remain unchanged after recount

In the two races in which recounts took place, vote totals shifted by at most five votes.
Kelsea Frobes
Kelsea Frobes
Campaign FinanceElection 2024ElectionsLocal Government

June primary election results did not change after a controversial three-day recount in Washoe County, paid for by far-right provocateur Robert Beadles on behalf of three candidates. 

In the contested elections for County Commission District 4 and School Board Trustee District G, preliminary results show Clara Andriola and Perry Rosenstein still won. Andriola carried 43.34 percent of the vote in the commission race, and Perry Rosenstein had 34.64 percent of the votes in the school board election — roughly the same percentages as before the recount.

A third recount of Reno City Council’s Ward 1 election by candidate Lily Baran was not completed because Baran withdrew her recount request. Baran later changed her mind, but officials with the City of Reno said once a withdrawal occurs, it’s final.

Though the Washoe County preliminary recount results indicate the primary outcome did not change, four candidates saw minimal shifts in their vote totals. Republican Mark Lawson, who had called for the recount in the County Commission District 4 election, lost one vote, while his competitor Andriola saw no changes. In the school board district recount, Paul White, who had requested the recount, gained one vote along with his competitor Diane Nicolet. Rosenstein lost five votes.

Andriola, Rosenstein and Nicolet will advance to the general election in their respective races. 

Washoe County commissioners will canvass the recount votes at its already scheduled meeting on July 9. The canvass is the official tally of votes for any given election. The purpose of the canvass is to account for every ballot cast and ensure that every valid vote cast is included in the election totals.

Ahead of the recount, Baran, Lawson and White filed lawsuits with the Nevada Supreme Court seeking hand recounts and temporary restraining orders to prohibit certain Washoe County officials who had overseen the June primary from conducting the recount. Beadles funded the three lawsuits and paid the candidates’ attorney fees. 

On his blog, Beadles complained that the Washoe County registrar of voters would not conduct the hand recount he had requested.

“Why won’t they do what they are paid to do and required by law to do, a hand recount,” he posted.

However, under Nevada law, a recount must be conducted in the same manner as the original vote tabulation. Any losing candidate can seek a recount, but state law requires them to front the cost and receive a refund only if the recount changes the outcome in their favor. Recounts can be requested within three working days of the county or statewide canvass and must start within five days of receiving the demand. A recount must be completed within five days once it has commenced.

Beadles paid about $50,000 per recount, totaling more than $150,000 for all three recounts. 

Though the law specifies that candidates need to file and pay for a recount, legal experts posted on the social media site X that Beadles paying for candidates could be counted as an in-kind contribution or a nonmonetary contribution, such as goods or services that are offered for free or for less than the usual charge. Those experts also noted that $50,000 is well above the $5,000 legal limit permitted for campaign contributions.

In an interview with The Nevada Independent, Baran said she asked to revoke the recount request because she was worried about possible legal consequences of having Beadles pay for the recount. After her attorney assured her that would not be the case, she said she changed her mind. But officials with the City of Reno said it was too late, and the recount ended.

Because Baran’s recount was stopped midway through, the county will likely deduct the amount spent on the partial recount from the $50,000 Beadles prepaid and refund the rest, county officials said.

Reporter Tabitha Mueller contributed to this story.

This story was updated on 7/3/2024 at 3:22 p.m. to include information about the canvass of the votes.


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